Mother

— David Eisbach

You spoke of cows in spring,
When they were let out of the barn.
They jumped and ran and bellowed
Reveling in nature’s arms.
Was that the way you started out
With two kids and a full-time job?
Then your husband had affairs
And you were on your own.
You took us to California
To build the nation’s ships of war.
There you found a man to love you forever
A man who gave us his name
But remained a father in hiding.
You tried, at first to protect us
From his incessant harshness. .
When “Rosie” returned to the kitchen,
Was there the thought of “Not Again?”
Was it too hard to consider
Because of the remembered pain?
All those years of biting my tongue
All those years of feeling betrayed.
The time had come for the hurt
To be exposed and with love, to expunged.
Like spreading rust on spans of iron,
Like barnacles on a wharf’s piling,
Years of silence formed a callus
Around the heart.
The moment came with anxiety and dread.
The moment passed with nothing said.
If something here is to be learned,
Errors need be aired in life’s reign.
The jaws of death will neither be kind
Nor helpful in defining truth or easing pain.
 

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